MARLBOROUGH'S Polly Tea Rooms has been named the best place to go for afternoon tea in the South West and the 15th best in the country by the Sunday Telegraph.

The 105-year-old High Street tea room joins an impressive company that includes The Ritz and Fortnum and Mason in London, as part of the paper's 30 best places for afternoon tea, chosen by their experts.

Owners David and Ann Clarke, who have run the place for four years and in that time have carried out an extensive refit, did not know they have won the award until they saw the paper on Sunday, and were absolutely thrilled.

"It really is fantastic news for us and is a great way of showing how far we have come in the last few years," said Mrs Clarke.

"The whole team are really chuffed about this pleasant surprise. People come from all over the country to our little tea room. I think we are very much part of the community here and it is lovely to be recognised in this way.

"We have restored the tea room to where it needs to be. When we took over it needed a huge amount of work but we have remastered it. We have re-done the interior, put in a new kitchen and bakery and repaired a lot of the Grade II listed building.

"So this shows that all that hard work has paid off."

The good news keeps on coming for the tea room as from next week they are extending their opening hours by two hours and 30 minutes so that it will close at 8pm through the summer.

"We wanted to extend the business. We feel there is a lack of something like us in the town. There are pubs and restaurants that stay open but nothing like this at those sorts of times," added Mrs Clarke.

"This is an extra step in getting to where we want to be. However, none of this would have been remotely possible without the stellar work of our team of 25 staff.

"We have a really dedicated team and I cannot thank them enough for their help."

Some of the recipes for cakes, chocolate moulds and biscuit cutters from the 1930s are still in use today.